A Beulah man faces felony charges in connection to the death of a woman at Phelps County’s Cedar Ridge Ranch settlement, according to documents filed in circuit court.

Michael D. Billingsley, 37, is charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and abandonment of a corpse. He was incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail with no bond issued. Beulah is just north of the Texas County line.


Deputies with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department responded Monday to the Cedar Ridge Ranch settlement off Highway K on a report of a woman found deceased on the property, according to the case’s probable cause statement. The statement says Billingsley was identified as her romantic partner and arrested on a neighboring property after fleeing the scene.

Billingsley is quoted in a statement as telling investigators he and the victim were involved in an argument when he slapped her and she fell on the ground. Billingsley said he then left her there to take a nap for an hour. Upon finding the victim where she’d fallen, the statement says Billingsley cooked a meal for the victim’s two juvenile children as a “celebration of life” before fleeing due to having an active parole warrant for his arrest.

The statement concludes by alleging Billingsley did not call medical assistance for the victim and left the children at the residence.  

Phelps County Coroner Ernie Coverdell reported Tuesday the victim’s next of kin has been notified and released her name as Vanessa Bradfield, 40. Coverdell said she is originally from Iowa. An autopsy for Bradfield was to be conducted in Springfield.

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